UFC 295 might have been light on prominent names after losing the Jon Jones-Stipe Miocic main event, but the top two featured bouts made up for it with explosive finishes that crowned two new champions.
In the main event from Madison Square Garden in New York, Alex Pereira became the ninth fighter in UFC history to win titles in two different weight classes and the first to accomplish the feat at 185 and 205 pounds, respectively.
He scored a second-round TKO victory over former champion Jiri Prochazka to win the light heavyweight title vacated by Jamahal Hill, who suffered a ruptured Achilles in July.
Take a look at the finish:
In the co-main event, Tom Aspinall won the UFC interim heavyweight title when he stopped Sergey Pavlovich in the first round.
Jones remains the reigning heavyweight champion while he recovers from a torn pectoral muscle.
However, Aspinall could now claim the No. 1 contender’s spot and recognize his own title after the win.
Prochazka Says the Referee’s Stoppage Was the Right Call
Pereira began chopping into Prochazka’s lead leg with kicks early in the first round. The attacks compromised the former champion’s leg, but he could gut out the first frame and even secure a takedown within the first five minutes.
However, in the second round, Pereira dropped Prochazka with a combination close to the cage. A series of elbows caused Prochazka to slump to the seat of his pants, but he was still engaged with Pereira.
Referee Marc Goddard called an end to the fight. Initially, it seemed like the stoppage may have been premature, but during the post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, Prochazka admitted he was out and in bad shape when Goddard stopped the fight.
Pereira called for his old rival Israel Adesanya to return to MMA and move up to 205 pounds to face him in a third MMA clash. The two men have a 1-1 series tie in MMA after Pereira defeated Adesanya twice in kickboxing.
Adesanya lost his middleweight title to Sean Strickland earlier this year in a lackluster performance. Due to personal issues, Adesanya said he would step away from MMA until 2027.
Pereira doesn’t want to wait that long, as he called for Adesanya to return for an MMA rubber match.
Depending on the Hill’s health, it would seem he is the most likely first challenger for Pereira’s 2055-pound title.
Aspinall Makes Quick Work of Pavlovich
Aspinall admitted he was afraid ahead of his clash with Pavlovich, but it didn’t look that way in the Octagon.
After absorbing a heavy left hand from the Russian in the first minute of the fight, Aspinall ended things with a 1-2 combination that rocked Pavlovich.
Three hammer fists later, Aspinall was celebrating an interim championship. Jones’ return is still several months away, so Aspinall could defend his interim title before the reigning champion is back in the Octagon.
I wouldn’t expect that opponent to be Miocic. Chances are, the UFC is saving the Jones-Miocic matchup as it is a significant fight with two of the biggest stars in the promotion’s history.
If Miocic fights Aspinall and loses, the UFC would lose the gloss of a title fight between Jones and Miocic. It wouldn’t be a shock to see Aspinall face Ciryl Gane for the interim title and for Jailton Almeida to take on Pavlovich sometime in the 4-6 months.
This set of fights would create a clear pipeline of challengers for the man who emerges victorious in the Jones-Miocic battle that could happen in the summer of 2024.
Here is a look at all of the results from UFC 295:
UFC 295 Main Card
- Alex Pereira def. Jiri Prochazka – 2nd-round KO (4:08) – UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
- Tom Aspinall def. Sergei Pavlovich – first-round KO (1:09) – Interim UFC Heavyweight Championship
- Jessica Andrade def. Mackenzie Dern – second-round TKO (3:15)
- Benoit Saint Denis def. Matt Frevola – first-round KO (1:31)
- Diego Lopes def. Pat Sabatini – first-round KO (1:30)
UFC 295 Prelims
- Stephen Erceg def. Alessandro Costa – unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
- Loopy Godinez def. Tabatha Ricci – split decision (27-30, 29-28 x2)
- Mateusz Rebecki def. Roosevelt Roberts – submission (armbar) (R1, 3:08)
- Viacheslav Borshchev vs. Nazim Sadykhov – majority draw (29-28, 28-28 x2)
- Jared Gordon def. Mark Madsen – first-round TKO (4:42)-
- John Castaneda def. Kyung Ho Kang – unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
- Joshua Van def. Kevin Borjas – unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
- Jamall Emmers def. Dennis Buzukja – first-round TKO (0:49)